Pakistan Air Defence Ground Environment System


Pakistan has made major improvements in its early warning/command and control capability over the last ten years. The Hughes Corporation was responsible for the integration and automation of the whole system. The Pakistan ADGES programme was begun in 1977 and is referred to as the “Pakistan Air defence System 77″ (PADS 77), at least till 1987. It was estimated to cost $120 million of which half went for infrastructure and half for six TPS-43G radars which form its basis.

Pakistan Air Defence Command was formed in 1975. It is based at Chaklala and exercises surveillance, control, and coordination of all Pakistan airspace. The HQ is built underground, to a depth of somewhere 5 to 10 meters. It has four rows of consoles with about 25-20 men operating them. All aircraft and airbases are represented on the screens, including one that coordinates all output from the consoles. It has been reported as ‘the most modern ever seen’ by a visiting western air official.

Subordinate to it are four Sector Operations Center, and subordinate to the SOCs are seven Control and Reporting centers. The sectors with their headquarters are:

North: Peshawar West: Quetta Center: Sargodha South: Karachi

There are 8 separate identified radar systems netted into the PAF air defence system. Of these, five are long-range systems and the remainder low-level.

Long Range Radar Systems

FPS-89/100: There are two installations, at Sakesar near Sargodha and Badin in the Thar desert. They are modernized versions of the US-supplied MAP radar, the FPS-6/20. The former is the height-finder, the latter is the search radar with a 350 km range. Sakesar also has a Plessey HF-200 height-finder acquired in 1967. Badin’s FPS-6 was destroyed in the 1965 war and was replaced with a Chinese height- finder.

Type 514: This is a Chinese system first acquired in 1978. It is known to be installed at Skardu and Gilgit in the Northern areas and at other locations. No other details are available.

Condor: The high-level system was acquired from the UK in 1968 and serves with Nos. 400, 403 and 410 Squadrons.

TPS-43G: This transportable radar is expected to remain in first line US service till 2010. Pakistan purchased sis systems at a cost of $60 million and all were commissioned by 1985. It consists of two modules, each less than 3 tons, and can be transported by two 5-ton trucks, a C-130, or two medium-lift helicopters. A six-man team can reassemble the radar within 50 minutes. It’s high-level range is 400 km, but its low-level range is classified. It is a 3D system with a 4 megawatt output. The system was the second phase of Project Crystal initiated in 1976 to provide Pakistan with a modern air defence system.

Thomson-CSF ATC: As far back as 1984 the Pakistan Government planned a modern Air Traffic Control System that could be netted into its ADGE. Possibly owing to financial stringency, the six radar started arriving only in 1987. The Pakistani ATC radar are at Pasni, Jiawani, Karachi, Rahim Yar Khan, Lahore and Rawalpindi. Though the locations correspond strictly to Pakistan’s growing civil air traffic routes, they are ideally placed to boost early warning from the Indian frontier.

It is of interest that in 1969 two Soviet P.35 high-level radar are PRV height-finders were installed, being decommissioned in 1979 owing to maintenance and spares difficulties.


Low Level Radar Systems

AR-1/6 Radar: In 1968-69 six AR-1 Plessey low level radars were installed, followed by 3 of the mobile versions, called AR-15. The range is about 150 km.

MPDR: very major investment was made between 1979-80 in 45 Mobile Pulse Doppler Radars acquired from Siemens of Germany. These are called the SILLACS MPDR 45/E. SILLACS stand for Siemens Low Level Air Defence Control System. They are controlled from six Control and Reporting Centers which are also mobile, and correspond presumably the PAF’s six MPDR wings.

Each CRC can control up to 8 radars; the CRC is data-linked to the Sector Operations Center. According to Janes Weapons System 1987-88 edition, there are two fully mobile versions one with 45km range another with 60 km. There is a third version, transportable, with a 90 km range. The first two are single vehicle system with a radar mast extendable to 18 meters and a shelter for the operating crew. The CRC is in two units, a shelter with 4 workstations and two assistant’s positions and power generators on trailers.

The MPDR project was the first phase of Project Crystal.

US Low Level Systems

Pakistan has been buying US-low level systems, probably the TPS-63 or 70 or both. One such buy for four low-level air defence radars was identified in a march 1990 list to the US Congress.

It may be noted that Pakistan has the capability to completely overhaul all radars except the Chinese type 514s and possibly the US TPS-43.